Hair Love, an Oscar-winning animated short, packs an emotional wallop into its 7 minutes. I'm always a softie for daddy-daughter stories, and this one is a heart warmer. Also, in a year in which the Oscars was stupidly short on representation of anyone other than white men, this film is a powerful reminder that all kids should — and need — to see themselves in the art and culture around them. I also found it fascinating to discover that the filmmaker, Matthew Cherry, is a former NFL football player who moved into entertainment after retirement to become a director and producer.
It's known as The Great British Bake Off in the UK and The Great British Baking Show in the U.S., but no matter which side of the Atlantic you live on, it is one of the most comforting shows on TV. When the world feels like it's going crazy on the regular, a show where the biggest tragedy is a pie's "soggy bottom," and where the contestants are polite and supportive of each other, is a balm to the soul (as my friend Manfred would say).
It can also be empowering to watch contestants battle their own fears and nerves to create something beautiful and delicious. I was so moved when Nadiya Hussain won season 6 and declared, "I’m never gonna say I can’t do it. I’m never gonna say ‘maybe’. I’m never gonna say, ‘I don’t think I can.’ I can and I will.”
After seeing Little Women, all I could think about afterwards was the costume design (by Jacqueline Durran) and production design (by Jess Gonchor). It's an absolutely luscious movie to watch. All of the details felt real — like I could reach through the screen and touch the beautiful fabrics — and the rich colors of the interiors were a gorgeous backdrop for the costumes. Afterwards, I read that each character had her own color palette, which I wish I had been astute enough to notice while I was watching!
Tiffany Haddish promised her fellow comedians that when she found fame, she'd help shine the spotlight on them too, and that's exactly what this series does. Each comedian's episode is about 15 or so minutes and is intercut with scenes of the women reconnecting backstage and short interviews with them individually. Although, I didn't plan on a binge, I downed the whole series in one sitting. Some of the comedians are stronger than others — Flame Monroe and Aida Rodriguez are stand-outs — but their collective story is full of grit and determination and women supporting women.
My main takeaway from this talk is that I need to just DO the things I think & dream about. Bridget Watson Payne is an editor at Chronicle Books here in SF; she is also an author, a mom, an artist, and a retail store owner. Although she begins and ends her talk speaking about the impact of her mother's death and how that has compromised her ability to get as much done, Bridget is a force of creativity! I had missed the live version of this talk and am so glad that CreativeMornings shared the video — I was incredibly inspired by how Bridget simply goes and does and makes and creates. ⭐️
I first became aware of Mark Ronson with the sudden and stunning appearance of Amy Winehouse on the music scene. After that, I followed his solo career as a producer and have generally enjoyed his music. However, things I learned in this doc that I didn't know: he was a NY hip hop kid, he was engaged to Rashida Jones in the early 2000s, and he is a genuine behind-the-scenes music star who seemingly has worked with both old-school greats along with whoever's up-and-coming now.
I inhaled the first season of Abstract — a series of short docs about a graphic designer, an interior designer, an illustrator, a photographer, and four more creative professionals. It's so right up my alley — learning all about how artists work and grow and became who they are. I am late to the game in appreciating Ruth Carter — I learned about her only after I saw Black Pantherand fell in love with its characters' cool looks. In season 2 of Abstract, I immediately skipped to her episodeandloved it. She's a reader and researcher who loves libraries and writes stories with costumes. I'd really love for someone to do a full-length documentary on her life because it felt like this one could barely fit in her lengthy career, and there was only time for a little bit about her childhood and personal life. It was great, but more, please! 😁
THIS MIGHT BE THE BEST TEEN MOVIE OF ALL TIME. I am not kidding. It's a female teen buddy comedy starring Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever, set on the last day of high school, and directed by Olivia Wilde (🙌🏼female director!). The cast is diverse, the characters don't fall into stereotypes, hijinks happen but everyone is kind to each other, and the use of music to highlight a moment or create an emotional tone is seriously on point. This is my favorite movie of 2019, and I hate that the Oscars don't value comedies like they should because this one would sweep! 🏆